Expanded GO service could mean more tourism for NOTL
An increase in GO Transit services between Toronto and Niagara Falls could mean more visitors to Niagara-on-the-Lake – and maybe ease parking pressures in town, the lord mayor says.
Premier Doug Ford announced the increase in weekday and weekend GO train services last Friday and the new trips began the next day.
There are now an additional two daily round trips along with one more daily roundtrip on weekends to Niagara Falls.
This brings the total of weekly round trips between Toronto and Niagara Falls to 21.
Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa called the announcement a “needed improvement.”
“It’s a good sign that it’s not just a summer announcement as well. It sounds like it’s a permanent service enhancement,” he said.
Not only can increased GO services boost tourism in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Zalepa said it may alleviate parking concerns by encouraging people to visit NOTL via transit.
Offering more trips can help people commute to their jobs, homes and also jumpstart tourism to Niagara, the province said in a news release.
Tourism in Niagara is a $1.8 billion industry and provides more than 23,000 jobs, the release noted.
Minerva Ward, president of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce and Tourism NOTL, said this latest development “greatly” enhances connectivity between the Greater Toronto Area and Niagara-on-the-Lake and provides “more convenient” transportation options for the town’s residents and visitors.
“It will drive economic growth by attracting more tourists and increasing visitor spending in the region,” she wrote in an email to The Lake Report.
The province also announced that GO train services to St. Catharines VIA Rail station will resume.
Zalepa said the “next big step” will be helping tourists easily get from the train stations to Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Right now tourists can get to NOTL from Niagara Falls or St. Catharines by taxi, rideshare or a private shuttle service, said Ward.
Tourists can also use the Niagara Region Transit OnDemand system to get to NOTL. Fares cost $3 within Niagara-on-the-Lake or $6 to travel between cities.
Fares can be booked on the NRT OnDemand app or by calling 1-833-678-5463 option 1.
Travellers can also take the WEGO orange line shuttle between Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake daily until Oct. 29.
The WEGO orange line shuttle departs from the Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservatory at 10:30 a.m. daily and the last shuttle leaves from Fort George in NOTL at 6 p.m.
As of June 30, the shuttle will depart from the Niagara Falls Floral Clock at 9:30 a.m. daily and the last shuttle leaves from Fort George at 7 p.m.
Somer Slobodian, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Lake Report